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Update4 | Terrorism in Oslo, Norway – Sources Confirm No Islamist Link | Suspect Admits to Attack




Updated 12:49 EST July 24

The accused has reportedly admitted his involvement in the attack on Utoya Island, where he dressed as a policeman. This attack was preplanned and careful thought out- A person who identified himself as Andrew Berwick also uploaded a video on YouTube calling calls for conservatives to “embrace martyrdom” six hours before the bomb in the center of Oslo went off. Reports suggests that there may have been another gunman involved as eye witnesses report gunshots coming from two different places in the island.

The killer’s manifesto “2083: A European Declaration of Independence”: a 1,518-page manifesto and handbook

In it, “Berwick” declares himself a “Justiciar Knight Commander,” a leading member of a “re-founded” Knights Templar group formed at an April 2002 meeting in London. He claims the founding group has 9 members, whom he does not name, and that three other sympathizers were not able to attend the original meeting.

“Our purpose,” the document reads, is to “seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda.”

Update 630AM EST July 23

-“Jihad in Norway” headliner Geller may have been one of the “media inspirations” for Oslo Terrorist ‘Tied to Right Wing Extremism’ . See this link on LGF  (Note: Charles Johnson who runs this site was himself a huge Islamophobe, but has since moderated his views). We caught Pamela updating her site as news of involvement of Islamists started dissipating. 

CNN is “finally” reporting the guy’s religion, saying that Norwegian police is calling him a “Christian fundamentalist”  (if he were a Muslim, that would be the first point).

-Examples of media outlets, one directly and another indirectly, reporting “confirmed” involvement of Islamists.

  • Rubin at Washington Post goes further. She assumes the “AlQaeda case”, then goes into a jibberish about how American shouldn’t make defense cuts! DEMAND WaPo retract the article and apologize!
  • An “expert” on AlJazeera has no doubts about the “Islamist connection”. We expected better from AJE!
  • The Sun newspaper blames al-Qaeda

Juan Cole: White Christian Fundamentalist Terrorism in Norway

-Electronic Intifada: How a clueless “terrorism expert” set media suspicion on Muslims after Oslo horror

Richard Silverstein: Suspected Oslo killer a fan of Israel: ‘Defeating Eurabia;’ hated feminism; loved Israel

-Norwegian terror suspect looked to the English Defence League as ‘an example’

MediaMatters: Fox Juxtaposes Norwegian Terrorist Attack, NYC Islamic Center


#Oslo is a textbook case in recency bias. Crazy didn’t start with Bin Laden. It has a long history & Muslims play a comparatively tiny role. [TheAlexandrian Youssef Chouhoud]

The #Oslo suspect’s one and only tweet: “@AndersBBreivik One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.” [TheAlexandrian Youssef Chouhoud]

No mention of “lone-ranger”, “mentally unstable” white guy’s religion. Like AZ shooter, case of cognitive dissonance? [MuslimMatters Muslim Matters]

Keep an eye on @teymoornabili on @AJEnglish going to revisit “experts” that kept claiming AQ in #Oslo [MuslimMatters Muslim Matters]

Islamophobia breeds terrorism. #OSLO [khan_zubair Zubair Ahmed Khan]

Praying for Norway. Hope this helps put right wing anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim hate rhetoric in proper light. #Oslo [lsarsour Linda Sarsour]

Anders Behring Breivik is a supporter of hate groups SIOE and EDL: #Islamophobia #Oslo #Islam [loonwatchers LoonWatch]



Serenity. Neutrality. On any other day, these are the terms that most readily come to mind when one thinks of Scandinavia.

Chaos. Terror. Today, these descriptions are sadly much more apt.

The Facts:

While the story is still developing, this is what we know for sure:

  • At 3:30pm on Friday afternoon, powerful explosions rocked downtown Oslo, Norway in an area home to several government buildings, including the office of the Norwegian prime minister.
  • The blasts blew out windows and caused other structural damage although, perhaps owing to the timing of the attacks, casualties were limited with reportedly 7 dead and 15 wounded.
  • Nearly two hours after the bombings, a separate shooting incident occurred at a youth camp for the governing Labor Party when an individual dressed as a police officer opened fire on a crowd of mostly 15 and 16 year old campers, reportedly killing ten people.
  • Norwegian authorities subsequently arrested a suspect – a native Norwegian – and withheld any information on him.
  • Sources now confirm that this 32-year old Norwegian man “does not appear to be linked to Islamist terrorism.”

Affirming all those who cautioned against prejudgement, the official went on to say:

“[T]he attacks probably have more in common with the 1995 attack on a U.S. federal building in Olkahoma City than the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.”

The Background:

Some may think that Norway is the prototypical neutral Scandinavian enclave. The reality is a bit different, however:

  • Norway is a member of NATO and as such is bound by NATO’s collective defense pact.
  • As a result of their membership in NATO, Norway has had a sustained military presence in Afghanistan – albeit with more of a token role.
  • Norwegian fighter jets are also participating in operations over Libya that have been ongoing for four months.
  • In addition to these military engagements, Norway has also garnered extremist ire by republishing the infamous cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) in 2010.

The Speculation:

As one would expect, most initial theories regarding the “who” and “why” of these incidents center around Muslim extremists:

  • Several jihadist groups claimed responsibility for today’s events, but none of the confessions were ever regarded as credible.
  • One year ago, Norway was the target of a foiled Al-Qaeda plot likely motivated by the points mentioned above.
  • Yet, given the time lapse between the bombings and the shooting, police, to their great credit, never ruled out that this was the work of a lone individual.


From the prime minister to the police commissioner, Norwegian officials never capitulated to all the talking heads assuring them that this was the work of Islamists. Truly, they deserve to be commended for standing up in the face of xenophobic pressure.

Much remains unanswered, however, and on the whole there are few elements to this story that are either neat or tidy.

Stay tuned to MuslimMatters for continuing coverage of this story.



Posted by Hena Zuberi

We are following and sharing tweets about this incident and the irresponsible coverage that forces all Muslims to live guilty until proven innocent. We demand better journalism by all mainstream news media. Real lives are affected by these events, the victims first and foremost and others as well, as there were immediate reports of Muslims being targeted in Norway after initial coverage. Groups like Helpers of the Global Jihad who claim responsibility and later withdraw their claim do nothing but fan the flames of anti-Muslim rhetoric. Any keyboard jihadist on an obscure website can claim responsibility for an attack but repercussions are far-reaching.

macleanbrendan Brendan Maclean Of course The Sun hasn’t stopped itself from jumping to any conclusions with it’s headline: NORWAY’S 9/11 #oslo

MuslimCouncil MCBby MuslimMatters Irrespective of who was responsible, tonight our thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed and injured in senseless attack.

@milanaknez Milana Knezevic Reports of muslims of all ages being harassed in oslo already (via @hwangberg ). Lets not let this happen! We are all Norwegians! #oslo

@HistoryNeedsYou Sir James Pennyman Police believe that the culprit was behind both attacks. They believe it’s a local political attack not international terrorism… #Utoya

MuslimMatters Muslim Matters Off media narrative: All non-Muslim terrorists mentally unstable #Oslo All Muslim terrorists brilliant intellectuals w/firm footing in Islam

MuslimMatters Muslim Matters Is OK-city-bombing-blame-Muslims routine repeating w #Oslo? MSM routine w/ impunity everytime? No consequence for irresponsible reporting?

HenaZuberi Hena Zuberi Lone ranger/mentally unstable-excuses for all Non Muslim extremists “get loony card” “go free” #Oslo

dreadpiratemick Mick To everyone who assumed the Oslo bomber was an Arab, how does it feel being a racist?

RuwaydaMustafah Ruwayda Mustafah AP just repeated what you said 3 hours ago about Norway being more like Oklahoma City. @alphaleah #Oslo #BetterJournalism

JMRooker JM Rooker So, the Oslo bombing was a Christian terrorist attack? I assume we’ve already demanded all Christians everywhere denounce it?

My childhood friend who lives in Oslo, Gro, had this to state on her Facebook status:
Gro Villumstad Velle I’m really proud of the police, ambulances and other emergency services in Oslo today. Despite some initial claims of “chaos” from journalists, it’s becoming increasingly clear that everything has been efficient, well organized and as calm as can be expected. No one on the official side is speculating, just calmly stating facts and how people should act. Fantastic work guys
Gro Villumstad Velle They say he is part of one of the neo-nazi groups in Norway. The camp he attached is the youth camp of the biggest political party in Norway Labor Party (Arbeiderpartiet). The prime minister was supposed to speak there tomorrow. Former prime minister Gro Harlem Bruntland was at the island today

Another friend, who I knew from the International Student’s Association  from University of New Orleans was a few miles away from the attack stated this about the attack (in Norwegian) which I had translated by Gro.

I was in the restroom at Oslo S (the central train station) when the bomb went off and the building was shaking…. got on the first tram out of the city… Didn’t know what had happened then, but felt I didn’t have anything more to do downtown! (And I got that confirmed later on!)

This was the alleged perpetrator’s one and only tweet from his supposed Twitter account which was recently setup.

@AndersBBreivik One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests. #Oslo.

This tweet says it all:

justimage matthew cassel retweeted by MuslimMatters
Troubling to think about how many times words related to Islam were used tonight in a horrific story that had nothing to do with it.

Continued speculation on the Washington Post: By , and | posted at 02:48 PM ET, 07/22/2011 but tweeted out again by the Washington Post -20 minutes ago 8:32 EST.

washingtonpost The Washington Post

In Norway attack, speculation centers on Kurdish group via @PostWorldNews

In the immediate aftermath of the attack in Oslo, speculation about the party that might be responsible has centered on Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish militant group that has been tied by U.S. officials to al-Qaeda and that carried out attacks on American troops and civilians in Iraq at the height of the war there.

Norway\’s contingent in Afghanistan, or even its “cartoon crisis” of 2006, could make the country a target for any number of terrorist groups, as the Atlantic has noted.

The U.S. ambassador to Norway, Barry White, said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon that investigators were still assembling information about the attacks and had not reached any conclusions on who was responsible.

“They\’re still looking at it,” White said. “Often times the early answers are the wrong ones.”


[Note from editors: In subsequent news reports, officials said the attacker was a Norwegian man.]

Talkingheads: And the so-called experts aren’t helping:

“Norway has had problems with indigenous jihadis and its foreign policy has been closely linked with the United States so there are at least two possible dimensions here,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. “The fact that there were able to get a car bomb that close to government buildings would suggest some sophistication.”

We now know that Norwegian police has arrested an ‘ethnic’ Norwegian man, Anders Behring Breivik. Norway largest newspaper, VG,  published his name and picture.

Police say Oslo blast, youth camp shooting rampage were domestic terror; 16 dead, 1 arrested

A police official said the 32-year-old ethnic Norwegian suspect arrested at the camp on Utoya island appears to have acted alone in both attacks, and that “it seems like that this is not linked to any international terrorist organizations at all.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway\’s police. “It seems it\’s not Islamic-terror related,” the official said. “This seems like a madman\’s work.”

So even in the exoneration of Muslims, what is being said? That all other human being regardless of color, race, ethnicity, religion who carry acts of horrific mass murder and destruction are madman, lunatics, not fit for trial but all those who claim to follow Islam and commit gross acts of violence are sane and methodical in their thought.

Muslimmatters will continue to provide updates as the story keeps unfolding.


Facts Update: Eighty young teenagers were indiscriminately fired at by a tall, blonde man dressed in a policeman’s uniform. People said that after the gunman started shooting, campers jumped into the water to try to escape the hail of bullets. Read rest here.

Youssef is from Brooklyn, New York by way of Alexandria, Egypt. Currently, he is a doctoral student at the University of Southern California studying Political Science and International Relations. A student of Islam, history, and politics, his recent extended stay in Cairo placed him squarely at the nexus of these disciplines. Follow him on Twitter (@TheAlexandrian) as he tries to make sense of all that's happening in Tahrir and beyond.



  1. Avatar


    July 22, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Isn’t it a little early to be concluding anything? Why not patiently analyze the facts, as they arise, and follow them, wherever they lead, in an unbiased manner?

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala

      July 23, 2011 at 1:15 AM


      This is a “breaking news” post, a feature that we hope to make more regular here at MM.


  2. Avatar

    Gro Velle

    July 22, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    At 4 am Norwegian police confirmed that at least 80 people were killed at Utøya. The young persons did not have a chance. They were trapped on an island with the killer. The killer was dressed in a police uniform and allegedly came to the camp to talk to the kids about the bomb in Oslo.

    This is a sad day for Norway.

    • Hena Zuberi

      Hena Zuberi

      July 22, 2011 at 11:10 PM

      Gro- All of you are in our prayers. We have become so desensitized to violence that we forget that these are real humans with families, feelings, loved ones that they leave behind. Thank you for sharing the news with us even though I know it must be so painful.

      What was his motivation? Have they found anything about that?

  3. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    July 22, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Alleged Facebook Page PDF Copy:

    scroll down and look at his Religious Views.

  4. Avatar

    Mohammed Khan

    July 22, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    His comments on a website translated from Norwegian to English shows how much he hated Islam:

    But I’m surprised he didn’t target any Muslim places. Was he blaming the ruling party for the Muslims being in Norway?

    • Avatar

      Gro Velle

      July 23, 2011 at 5:00 AM

      It’s to early to conclude on anything yet. But the Labor party is in government in Norway and has been for a long time. It might be that he has targeted the party. They are in a way responsible for the multicultural society that Norway is becoming. There is an ongoing discussion in Norway on integration. Especially in Oslo, where integration or lack of such is an increasing problem. Even though we have an discussion in Norway this is the work of a sick man.

      Today is not a day for hate, we need to keep our hearts warm and reach out to all off the teenagers that were at Utøya and their families. 84 are now confirmed dead. In Oslo the bomb killed 7. The numbers will keep raising.

  5. Avatar


    July 23, 2011 at 3:52 AM

    Muslim, Christian, what’s the difference? Only the religious could do this.

    • Avatar


      July 25, 2011 at 7:05 AM

      Hiroshima. Mongols. WWI. WWII.

      • Amad


        July 25, 2011 at 9:57 AM

        Ones without religion did far worse:


        Between them, staggering 150 million killed.

        When you have no moral compass, no afterlife consequence, what’s there to stop you. When you die, you just die, so who cares as long as your self-interests are front and center.

  6. Avatar


    July 23, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    OMG, do you know how worried I was in the Uk? I have family in Norway too.Wallahi I was like if its some idiot extremist who happens to be Muslim, I am on the next flight to Dubai. SubhanAllah.

  7. Avatar


    July 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Also, previously on AlJazeera English, there was an interviewee who commented on the blonde hair and the overall appearance of the suspect man in custody saying, ”well there are many Scandinavian converts to Islam” etc etc. What the heck? Anyways, I feel sorry for the youth that were shot dead, many were between the ages of 14-18 whom he pretended to help. What an evil man.

  8. Avatar

    Gro Velle

    July 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Evil comes in all colors and shapes. White, black, brow and yellow, muslim, christian, atheist and non-religious. Evil is evil. The episode in Norway seems to be one evil mans work. Maybe he had some helpers. But he is pure evil. I kind of comprehend the attack on the government buildings, but I can not grasp the evil of attacking a youth camp. We have no-one to loose. The stories of the surviving teenagers are heartbreaking. They’ve seen friends killed, they’ve run for their lives, they’ve swam in the lake with him taking a shot at them.

    The man responsible for this is evil. He will be punished according to Norwegian law. The people of Norway will fight the evil with love. Hatred is not the solution to deal with this. I cite the prime minister: We will fight this with openness and democracy.

    Survivors of the attack on Utøya already wants to take the island back. They will not be driven away. They refuse to surrender to evil!

  9. Avatar

    waleed ahmed

    July 23, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    NY times reports chilling new details of the victim’s intent. This plan was well thought out and not the work of a ‘mad man’. He along with his followers have are on a mission to rid europe of multiculturalism and Islam. Details of the report are sccarrryyy.

    • Avatar

      waleed ahmed

      July 24, 2011 at 12:05 AM

      sorry..meant to say ‘the attacker’s intent’

  10. Amad


    July 24, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    My thoughts:

    -Prayers for the victims. Feels good to join Norwegians without feeling like others are looking at u as the perpetrator!

    -*Important one* 911 = watershed moment for Muslims, though vast majority of us had nothing to do with it. Oslo turning out to be a watershed moment for Islamophobes, who have everything to do with it

    ‎-American citizen, Awlaki, is on the official assassination list for inspiring the failed “underwear” terror plot. Oslo killer, Anders Breivik. cited Robert Spencer 40 times in his manifesto. Not calling for assassination, but can we at least put Spencer, Geller, Shoebat & the crew in a lunatics asylum?? Keep their filth out of the hands of more right-wing terrorists. Save more lives!

  11. Avatar


    July 24, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Okay, it has been a few days, and I have read a few articles from a few different sources. The terrorist appears to be a neo-Nazi style European nationalist, probably acting alone. Some of his conspiracy theories sound uncomfortably like what I hear from Tea Party types in America. He might or might not be clinically insane, it is too early to tell, but he is sane enough to plan an effective terrorist attack on the rulers of his country, and their youth (what an evil jerk to attack children!). He allegedly regrets having to kill, but explains that it is necessary. Anytime human life is subordinated to a moral principle, the moral principle is instantly suspect. No evil person ever admits they are evil. They always have an explanation for what they say and do.

    Resist extremism in all forms. Hold human life above all ideology.

    Condolences to the families and friends of the victims, and to the people of Norway.

    For apologists of Muslim terrorists, congratulations. You now have one more name to add to your list of non-Muslims who commit terrorist atrocities. I am sure you will be happy to add Anders Breivik to the list that includes Timothy McVeigh, Baruch Goldstein, . . . wait, who else is there? I was certain there were at least a few more names on that list. Help me, please, somebody. Thanks.

    • Amad


      July 25, 2011 at 9:46 AM

      I find some of your comments frankly offensive and dumb. Even in moments like this, you can’t truly hide the dripping condescending attitude towards Muslims that flows from you.

      Why do you feel apologists for Muslim terrorists are the only ones who would refer to “non-Muslim terrorists”. You don’t have to tax your brain too much about “few more names”. The majority of terrorists have been non-Muslims. But unlike you, we are not keeping count.

      All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that Aren’t
      Daily Titan: Only 6 Percent of Terrorists are Muslim
      It DOES matter when Muslims are singled out, only to have someone who isn’t one, committing a massacre. It reinforces the truth that nuts come from all religions, they are not exclusive to Islam. Muslim nuts just get more publicity and considered “true Muslim fundamentalists”, while Christian ones are dismissed as lone-rangers & madmen.

  12. Avatar


    July 25, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    I understand the frustration about blaming Muslims for random terror – but it doesn’t win Muslims any friends to push that this man was a Christian – especially when he obviously was not. Muslims will more quickly lose the extremist label if they take people if other faiths as friends rather than making themselves super-inclusive with the defensive blame-game rhetoric that they are often victim of themselves. As you know this kind of behavior only breeds misunderstanding and anger, when what we need – between faiths – is understanding and grace. Yes, Christians have a role in this too, but fighting each other because of what the media says is like hitting the wrong person in a fight.

    • Amad


      July 25, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      Thanks for the comment Jason

      In this article reflecting more of our sentiments, I have pointed out what should satisfy you in terms of a positive response:

      Secondly, this incident is a stark reminder of that there are nuts in all religions. Police in Norway have called the alleged mastermind, a “Christian fundamentalist”. But does this guy really represent Christianity? Does he really speak for Christians? Does he really follow Christian traditions? And I believe for all sane people, the answer is a resounding NO. As Muslims, we know it. We don’t need to be reminded of it. We have enough common sense to make a distinction between nuts and mainstream practitioners….

      I am hoping to write a post “Why Anders Christian fundamentalism should not matter”. Because you can see from his manisfesto that his reasons were clearly political and hatred-driven. And if you ask the radicals among Muslims, they might also have “Muslim fundamentalist” cloaks, but they are ultimately driven by political and non-religious motivations (see this series covering Dalia Mogahed’s book esp sections 3a/b)

      • Avatar


        July 25, 2011 at 10:47 AM


        I very much appreciate your reply and am encouraged that you are taking the effort to combat this issue. I truly believe your approach on this topic is what will make a real difference. We have, on a daily basis, the perpetuation of hate and fear-mongering. Yet, none of these paths of provided an acceptable or rational end to our needs – that is, no peace has come from such a method. Rather, the perpetuation of evil deeds has come from such a response to evil deeds. Therefore, it stands to reason that an effort such as yours not only makes known a more accurate reality of the Muslim faith, it paves the way for an end to the war. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

        Grace and peace to you Ahmad.

        • Amad


          July 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM

          And peace unto you as well Jason. Thanks for stopping by.

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#Current Affairs

Allah’s Will and Our Responsibility: Responding To Forest Fires

Abu Ryan Dardir



Forest Fires

What do Indonesia, Greenland, Brazil, Siberia, Turkey, Bolivia, The Canary Islands, and The Congo, have in common? They are losing their forests due to wildfires, commonly known as forest fires.

The image above is not an image of city lights at night.

It represents wildfires that happened around the world in July of 2019. The purpose of this article is to clarify misconceptions, provide the facts, and suggest possible solutions. Despite media coverage, forest fires are not typically bad. If you remember back to your Biology class in High School, a forest fire can be part of secondary succession. It plays a role in our environment. Forest fires stimulate new growth, and it opens up the canopy allowing sunlight to hit the forest floor. Forest fires also release nutrients trapped in the forest floor. Currently, we have reached a state of panic and misinformation. High profile social media accounts have been sharing pictures and information that is not accurate in time and location. These only fuels fear and doubt, and like anything on the media, you need to fact check.

While it is true that the Amazon forest is experiencing a more significant number of fires this year than last, the pattern isn’t necessarily abnormal on a global scale. In 2015 we experienced 4.7 million forest fires globally, and that number has been steadily decreasing every year since. To date, we have experienced 2.9 million forest fires in 2019. From 2003 to 2008 we averaged 5 million forest fires annually.

Forest Fires data

Right now, we are at the average number of forest fires we would be experiencing in August, based on 20 years of data. While the media is focusing on Brazil, Brazil ranks number 5 in the number of forest fires in the last year. The Congo has ranked number 1 for several years now in regards to forest fires. The Congo loses about 1% of their forest annually to wildfires, and Brazil about 0.15% of their forest. Either way, these are huge losses. Our brothers and sisters in Indonesia are suffering as well, including some critically endangered species.

What is causing this? Nothing happens without the will of Allah ﷻ. In Surat Yusuf, verse 21 Allah ﷻ says “The Will of God prevails, but most of the people know not”

In a narration, we hear the Prophet subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reminding us of the above verse.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبَّاسٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ: “كُنْت خَلْفَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه و سلم يَوْمًا، فَقَالَ: يَا غُلَامِ! إنِّي أُعَلِّمُك كَلِمَاتٍ: احْفَظْ اللَّهَ يَحْفَظْك، احْفَظْ اللَّهَ تَجِدْهُ تُجَاهَك، إذَا سَأَلْت فَاسْأَلْ اللَّهَ، وَإِذَا اسْتَعَنْت فَاسْتَعِنْ بِاَللَّهِ، وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ الْأُمَّةَ لَوْ اجْتَمَعَتْ عَلَى أَنْ يَنْفَعُوك بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَنْفَعُوك إلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ لَك، وَإِنْ اجْتَمَعُوا عَلَى أَنْ يَضُرُّوك بِشَيْءٍ لَمْ يَضُرُّوك إلَّا بِشَيْءٍ قَدْ كَتَبَهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْك؛ رُفِعَتْ الْأَقْلَامُ، وَجَفَّتْ الصُّحُفُ”. رَوَاهُ التِّرْمِذِيُّ

Abu al-‘Abbas ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)  reports:

“One day I was riding (a horse/camel) behind the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, when he said, ‘Young man, I will teach you some words. Be mindful of God, and He will take care of you. Be mindful of Him, and you shall find Him at your side. If you ask, ask of God. If you need help, seek it from God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together in order to help you, they would not be able to help you except if God had written so. And if the whole world were to gather together in order to harm you, they would not harm you except if God had written so. The pens have been lifted, and the pages are dry.'” Related by Tirmidhi

There is a sense of freedom through the reliance of Allah ﷻ.

But Allah ﷻ has given us a responsibility, an amanah.

وَهُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَكُمْ خَلَائِفَ الْأَرْضِ وَرَفَعَ بَعْضَكُمْ فَوْقَ بَعْضٍ دَرَجَاتٍ لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ سَرِيعُ الْعِقَابِ وَإِنَّهُ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And it is He (God) who has made you successors (Khalifa) upon the Earth and has raised some of you above others in degrees [of rank] that He may try you through what He has given you. Indeed, your Lord is swift in penalty; but indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surah Al-An’am:165]

I worry the world is neglecting that responsibility, and taking the Earth for granted. Not only are we neglecting this responsibility, but we are also exploiting what Allah ﷻ gave us.

“Eat and drink from the provision of Allah, and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption.” (Qur’an, 2:60)

We are in a state of a “climate crisis,” yet we have not taken the proper steps to address it. We worry about the world that our children will inherit, but lack the passion for doing something about it.

A lot of it is at the government level. The Green New Deal failed and living in a plutocracy, and it may not come to fruition. Capitalism that fuels our consumeristic manners only speed up this destruction we are inflicting on ourselves. The solutions are simple and need to come from the community and work outward. We see the forests of the world burning, are we going to sit and watch the world burn, or will we implement the words of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him)? Our Prophet Muhammad said: “There is no Muslim who plants a tree or sows a field for a human, bird, or animal eats from it, but it shall be reckoned as charity from him.” [Bukhari, Muslim]

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ مَا مِنْ مُسْلِمٍ يَغْرِسُ غَرْسًا أَوْ يَزْرَعُ زَرْعًا فَيَأْكُلُ مِنْهُ إِنْسَانٌ أَوْ طَيْرٌ أَوْ بَهِيمَةٌ إِلاَّ كَانَتْ لَهُ صَدَقَةٌ ‏”

If the Forest Burns, We Plant More Trees

If the forests burn, we plant more trees; this gives us sadaqah jariyah (continous reward), and allows us to fulfill our obligation as stewards of this planet. Countries with much fewer resources are doing it, and so can you. The Great Green Wall is an African-led movement with an epic ambition to grow an 8,000km natural wonder of the world across the entire width of Africa. Its foundation is in the Sahel the southeastern part of the Sahara. That part of the world is on the frontline of climate change, and the people are changing their ways to address it.

As Brazil loses 0.15% of forest due to fires, India has increased its forestry by 1% in two years. There is no doubt that capitalism plays a role, and we play a role in capitalism, and instead of being blind consumers, we can be informed consumers. Your dollar forces companies to make choices that can be better for the planet. It is essential to be cautious of your purchases and the role that the company plays in our delicate ecosystems. Three significant regions are suffering tremendously due to forest fires. The Congo, Brazil, and Indonesia, each has its unique part in our capitalistic lives.

Cells for Congo

Mining to get rare earth metals comes from the Congo; mining requires deforestation to reach the resources needed. These “rare earth” metals are used by anyone that has a cell phone, laptop, computer, etc. One thing we can do not to be part of the problem is to find more ethical companies in regards to technology usage.

Investigate for Indonesia

Next is Indonesia, and it is notorious for having corporations burn its trees down for palm oil. Palm oil is an ingredient found in many processed foods, cosmetics, and toiletries. It’s said that the equivalent of 300 soccer fields of rainforest is cleared every hour for the production of palm oil worldwide. Palm oil can be produced in a responsible manner that respects the environment and the communities where it is commonly grown. Find no palm oil alternatives here. Look for the RSPO label to ensure you purchase products made with certified sustainable palm oil. This label gives you the confidence that the palm oil was produced in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Beefless for Brazil

Then there is Brazil the largest exporter of beef in the world. Cows are not small or cheap. They use a lot of water and resources to accommodate a growing demand for meat. One pound of beef uses 1800 gallons of water; this includes the water it drinks and the water used for its food. Add the amount of space needed, and one can’t help but think if beef is worth it.

These three very sought out resources and luxuries increase profits for the corporation for companies like Google, Samsung, Sony, Apple, Nestle, Kelloggs, General Mills, Colgate-Palmolive, and the beef industry supported by the populist Brazilian President. One can’t help but think that some of these fires are not naturally occurring. There is enough by the greed and selfishness by those that can impose their power on other people and our planet to fuel these fires. Use your dollar wisely, and voice your concern to any corporation that exploits the resources that Allah ﷻ bestowed upon us.

I want to conclude with a hadith that should make us respond to the loss of our forests. Planting trees and preserving what we have is so crucial that Anas Ibn Malik is said to have reported: that the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), said, “If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.” [Ahmad]

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ‏:‏ إِنْ قَامَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَفِي يَدِ أَحَدِكُمْ فَسِيلَةٌ، فَإِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ أَنْ لاَ تَقُومَ حَتَّى يَغْرِسَهَا فَلْيَغْرِسْهَا‏.

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My Heart Shook In New Zealand

Mohsin Ansari



One would imagine that a person would be dead-tired and ready to crash in his bed after a grueling, 36-hour journey from Christchurch, New Zealand to Washington, DC. And I will admit, that was the way I felt. Yet somehow, all my somnolence vanished as soon as my head rested on my pillow and I closed my eyes to rest. A wave of recollections fell over me: memories of the survivors, the emotions they expressed, and their feelings of an uncertain future as they planned their lives after the loss of their family members. These feelings instantly took away all the desire to get rest and sleep. I sit upright now and begin writing this reflection of a once in a lifetime experience- a voyage of grief and hope to Aotearoa- land of the white cloud as the indigenous people call New Zealand.

With lost baggage, long flights and too many connections, at times it seemed unlikely that my eldest son Moaz and I would make it to Jumm’ah and Janazah prayers in Christchurch, New Zealand. But Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) accepted our prayers so that we could fulfill the guidelines set by our beloved, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). We were able to fulfill one of the rights of a Muslim over the others; that when he is sick visit him, and when she dies, offer her funeral and be part of her burial.

Hagley Cricket Ground was supposed to have a cricket test match between Bangladesh and New Zealand that Friday. Commentators reckon that it would have been the final day of that test match. But the 22nd of March 2019, brought a much bigger crowd to this world-famous cricket ground than what anyone would have seen on the final day of that test match.

Officials and security directed us towards the VIP area as they wanted to pay respect to the guests who traveled all the way from the USA, Canada, and Australia. The environment of love, solidarity, and respect, coupled with the hijab-clad women standing in solidarity with Muslims in that enormous crowd, created an impact which cannot be articulated by mere words. Every single uniformed female officer was carrying their firearm while donning a hijab; creating a welcoming gesture in a rather somber and gloomy atmosphere.

I do not have the words to thank the leadership of Charity Australia and the Islamic Forum of Australian Muslims (IFAM) for providing us with logistics, facilitating meeting the families of the “shuhudaa” (martyrs) and arranging to visit those injured in the tragedy. ICNA, Helping Hand, and Charity Australia banners highlighting the slogans of “American Muslims stand in solidarity with Victims of Christchurch New Zealand” were the center of attention for thousands of local New Zealanders gathered in solidarity that day. Their hugs, sincere prayers and tearful eyes were the greatest gift that I want to share with everyone reading these reflections.

Right after Jumm’ah, the majority of the crowd attended the collective Janazah prayer of 27 of the martyrs. In those emotional moments, I met with the most courageous woman on earth, the wife of 51-year-old Shaheed Naeem and the mother of 21-year-old Talha Naeem, the two spirited souls who gave their lives to save others in the mosque that day. She is one of the strongest women I have ever met. She mentioned that her husband, Naeem, was a person who lived the life of a man of service, always ready to help others. She described Talha as an angel who was too pious and too noble to be away from Jannah too long. We heard similar feelings from Naeem’s mother (grandmother of Talha) the next day when we visited their home.

The visit to the home of New Zealand’s national soccer team player, Atta Elayyan (33), was not only emotional but also deeply inspiring. Atta lost his life and his father (the founder of Al-Noor Masjid) was severely injured during this brutal and hateful attack. There were several scholars from the United States, including Sheikh Omer Suleiman, in the visit to Atta’s home. We could offer nothing to console the brave mother of this shaheed, who greeted us with words of courage and wisdom. We had no words to accompany the tears in our eyes, except prayers for the most noble young man who helped so many in coming close to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

Our visits to Al-Noor Masjid and the Linwood Islamic Center were also filled with memories of love, harmony, and reverence. There was a continuous influx of hundreds of visitors, not only from New Zealand, but also from different countries including, but not limited to, Australia, Fiji, and Canada.  Thousands and thousands of flower bouquets and other items of love were left by these visitors. I was really thrilled to see that local Muslims left many Qur’ans and flyers with basic concepts of Islam and addressing the common misconceptions about Islam for those visiting. I witnessed many people visiting these mosques were taking those Qur’ans and other books with them in order to learn more about Islam.

We also met Mr. Aziz, the unsung hero who repeatedly attacked the killer with different objects including an empty gun —which the killer had discarded. The terrorist fired on Aziz multiple times, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) not only saved him, but he also forced the killer to flee from the Linwood Islamic Center. Mr. Aziz was one of the reasons why the number of casualties in this mosque was only seven, compared to the 43 martyrs in Masjid Al-Noor. We also met certain individuals whom Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) saved miraculously. A young man showed his trousers fenestrated with holes of bullets but had no signs of injury. The husband and wife who entered the premises of the mosque and only to be showered with a burst of 26 bullets while in their car, leaving it completely destroyed. Yet Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) saved both of them while they took shelter in their vehicle.

The visit to the hospital’s ICU was simply heartbreaking but at the same time increased our resolve and commitment to help these families as much as possible. We encountered a Turkish brother who was in a coma for nine days and met his elderly parents, who spoke to us in the very little English they knew. The only thing which we could understand from their hushed voices was the request for du’a and tears of helplessness in their eyes. The 71-year-old father of a local Pakistani from Hafizabad, who had arrived two weeks ago to visit his son, was now on a ventilator fighting for his life. As a physician who has worked in ICU settings for a long time, I simply did not have enough medical reasoning which could have provided him any words of hope!! Similarly, I was not able to provide any glimmer of hope to a brother from Bangladesh whose wife will never be able to walk again and will be paralyzed for the rest of her life.

While I saw hope and felt resilience from every victim in that hospital, this hospital visit was brutally heartbreaking.

Lastly, I cannot imagine the pain, agony, and helplessness that the father of Mucad Ibrahim must feel after losing his 3-year-old son in his own arms. I gave him the longest hug possible, as he taught the whole world the meaning of Beautiful Sabr (Patience).

After seeing the devastation caused by the terrorist attack, and the work that must still be done to heal the community, Helping Hand USA, ICNA Relief Canada, and Charity Australia have formed an organization called the “Christchurch Family Support Network”. The operations have already begun, and our team is on the ground. The first group of mental health professionals with a background in Islamic Integrated counseling are set to leave to provide victims and their families immediate psychological assistance.

We ask Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) to accept our work, bring healing to the community, protect our brothers and sisters, and accept the shuhadaa’ in the highest level of Paradise.

Dr. Mohsin Ansari is the Vice President Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Chairman of Helping Hand USA (HHRD)


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Because Muslims Matter | Honoring The Martyrs Of #Christchurch

Hena Zuberi



As the days go by, it is easy to forget the names and faces of the people who passed away. The horror of the act eclipses their memories. We do not want that to happen to our brothers and sisters in New Zealand.

اللهُـمِّ اغْفِـرْ لِحَيِّـنا وَمَيِّتِـنا وَشـاهِدِنا ، وَغائِبِـنا ، وَصَغيـرِنا وَكَبيـرِنا ، وَذَكَـرِنا وَأُنْثـانا. اللهُـمِّ مَنْ أَحْيَيْـتَهُ مِنّا فَأَحْيِـهِ عَلى الإِسْلام ،وَمَنْ تَوَفَّـيْتَهُ مِنّا فَتَوَفَّـهُ عَلى الإِيـمان ، اللهُـمِّ لا تَحْـرِمْنـا أَجْـرَه ، وَلا تُضِـلَّنا بَعْـدَه

Allaahum-maghfir lihayyinaa, wa mayyitinaa, wa shaahidinaa, wa ghaa’ibinaa, wa sagheerinaa wa kabeerinaa, wa thakarinaa wa ‘unthaanaa..

O Allah forgive our living and our dead, those who are with us and those who are absent, our young and our old, our menfolk and our womenfolk… [7]

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